“The ugly fallout from the American Dream has been coming down on us at a pretty consistent rate since Sitting Bull’s time — and the only real difference now […] is that we seem to be on the verge of ratifying the fallout and forgetting the Dream itself.” – Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72
Turn around, puppy, she’s standing right there.
If you’re lucky in 2016, maybe you’re better off than your parents or grandparents. Maybe you got a better education, or are able to own a home. Maybe you’ve got a pension (ha, Google it). Maybe you’re simply able to negotiate a stroll without being harassed, beaten, tazed, or straight up shot dead. And maybe your own kids will be better off than you are. That’s what most parents hope for, anyway, but look at the rising costs and disappearing opportunity for nearly everything, and that hope might feel increasingly desperate.
Those of us lucky enough to be U.S. citizens have a heritage that’s the envy of the world. Millions of acres of wild land and clean water are bequeathed to all of us as a happy accident of birth, or the fortunate benefit of negotiating a long and costly immigration process. And in the absence of property or money or opportunity, we can at least pass this inheritance along to our kids, as long as we’re vigilant and the well isn’t poisoned.
And, you know, if it isn’t stolen by greedheads like the American Lands Council and their pet politicians, who are attempting to force the divestiture of our public land and water to the states, where they can be, or in some cases must be sold off to private interests who can keep your kids’ dirty feet from soiling it ever again.
Screw that. Start here, and here, but don’t stop there. Raise hell. Don’t be forced to tell the kids that you’re sorry, but you just didn’t do enough. It’s easy to type words about heritage and the home of the brave, but that doesn’t amount to a hell of a lot when they’re willing to set the dogs on you.
The divestiture of public land to the States makes me angry. I mean really damn angry and the question is why? Superficially I don’t fit the demographic that supports the “let’s keep the Fed’s managing the land” side of the argument. I’m a forty-year-old white male who’s married with no kids. Instead of writing this post I should be abusing my male privilege, sitting back mulling my lack of genetic legacy and letting the place burn. Because when it comes to the future I’m guessing my knees have got just enough cartilage left in them for another twenty years of stumbling through steelhead creeks and carrying dead ungulates up and down mountains. After that, the chances are I’ll be done. And there’s no way there will be enough environmental degradation in that time frame to impact my hunting and fishing in any meaningful way.
But here’s the thing, I’m an immigrant. I chose to come to the United States and became a citizen. For me, the idea of Freedom is synonymous with public land. Where I grew up in Europe there is no concept of public lands for hunting and fishing. Private landowners control not only access but also the animals and fish that live on their estates. Hunting and Fishing are the purview of the aristocracy, merchant bankers, and hedge fund managers. If you can’t pay then you can’t play.
In the United States things are different. We, The People, own millions of acres of pristine wilderness. Wilderness we can all legally hunt and fish without having to glance over our shoulders for some irate blunderbuss wielding aristocrat. It’s a unique situation. But times they’re a changing. There’s some major fuckery going down in the Senate. The crux of the matter is a Republican move to sell off public land to the States. No big deal, right? Except it is a big deal. Land held in a State trust doesn’t guarantee public access. In fact many States forbid access without the user, that’s you, purchasing a permit or a lease. Don’t believe me? Here’s what Colorado’s State Land Board’s has to say on the matter:
“State trust lands are not open to public use except when leased to a specific party (private or public). Any interested party may apply for a recreation lease on state trust land. Common uses include hunting, fishing, hiking and horseback riding.“
It doesn’t stop there. Once the land is transferred to the States, they are compelled by legislation or their constitution to manage it for profit. If they can’t do that then they are obliged to sell it. The amount of land that has been sold off by Western States, land that they received in their Enabling acts, is staggering. Nevada alone received 2.1 million acres at statehood and has sold over 1.9 million acres. And Nevada isn’t an outlier, all the Western States have done the same and there’s no reason to think that they won’t keep selling the land they receive in the future.
So the questions shouldn’t be why the hell am I so angry about the transfer of public lands to the States? The question is why aren’t you?
It should come as no great shock to anyone that the state of Florida, is well, a state of disgrace. We’re not just talking about my good buddy Florida Man lobbing alligators through drive-thrus, or leaving his kids in the care of strippers at Thee Brass Flamingo while he goes on a meth binge; rather, we’re talking about the governance, or rather, malign negligence of the state government when it comes to enforcing, or even just giving more than a passing glance to critical issues like water quality.
The three main pillars of the Florida economy are agriculture, tourism and real estate development. Basically, 2/3rds of the state economy depends on attracting people to the state temporarily, and then convincing them to stay. What’s been going on lately is that entrenched agriculture interests, like Big Sugar and the muck farms around Lake Okeechobee, have been royally fucking the Florida Coast. And by royally fucking the coast, Big Ag is not doing the other two pillars any favors. Normally, issues like water quality should stand on their own, but being Florida, you’ve got to screw with the Mouse and the Developers to get any attention.
The Lake is basically an agricultural sewage system now, and due to decisions made, christ, like 75 years ago by the Army Corps of Engineers, the outflow from the Lake doesn’t pass through the somewhat cleansing system of the Glades. Giant canals are dumping fertilizer and runoff contaminated water directly into rivers and estuaries, causing algae blooms, fish kills, and making life in those areas miserable. Peruse social media and images of algae rafts and fish carcass choked waterways are more common than they ever should be.
It doesn’t have to be this way, and there’s something you can do to help. Go to http://gladesdeclaration.org/ and sign the petition. We’re joining up together to help get state funds to restore natural water flows out of Okeechobee through the Everglades.
Helping Florida out, well, it helps all of us out.
This sort of douchebaggery should be painful.
You should be forced to swallow this, you damn dirty chimp.
You watch, some Saturday afternoon right after cartoons, humanity will be wiped out by ridiculous alien invaders, and it WON’T be because they want our planet or our women or our precious bodily fluids, oh no. It’ll be because we’re bigger jackasses than them. Nice going, Skeeter.
Dear Asshat Who Low-Holed That Sweet Tailout From Under Me Yesterday: Yes, you’re a pinner, and there’s no doubting the effectiveness of your floaty toy and sac antics. But you’re also a thoughtless inconsiderate slob of a toolshed no matter what gear you’re using. As for not being thrown in the drink, you’re welcome, but I hope that when your wife picked you up later she promptly punched you square in your stupid face. She looked like the type. Anyway, now your backside gets to enjoy a moment of interwebs fame with a juvenile bit of Photoshop fun.
“I am ALL bunghole!”